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What to know about open container laws in Tempe, Arizona

Drinking and driving can have fatal consequences, which is why Arizona has strict laws in place to prevent it.

One of these laws is the prohibition of open containers of alcohol in vehicles.

What’s considered an alcoholic beverage?

Arizona law defines an alcoholic beverage as any drink with .5% alcohol or greater. This definition excludes most non-alcoholic beer, mixers, and other non-alcoholic beverages.

Understanding open container laws

The state follows the federal guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Transportation, which means any bottle, can, or jar with a broken seal, any container with a portion missing, or a glass or cup containing an alcoholic beverage falls under the definition of an “open container.”

It is against the law to have any open container of alcohol in the passenger area of a car or the cab of a truck, even if the driver is not drinking from it. This law applies to both drivers and passengers. There are minor exceptions to this law, including passengers in limousines and ridesharing vehicles.

Penalties for violating open container laws

If you are caught with an open container of alcohol in the passenger area of your vehicle, you will face a class-2 misdemeanor charge. The penalties for this charge include a fine of $750 and up to four months of jail time. Even if you were not drinking from the open container or impaired at the time you were pulled over, the penalties still apply. Open container violations often go hand-in-hand with DUI charges, which can result in even more serious consequences.

Know the law

Understanding the open container laws is crucial for residents and visitors alike. Remember that the state takes these laws seriously, and violating them can have lasting consequences.